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What Are the Great Moral Issues of Our Time?

In Abortion, Abstinence, Birth Rate, Child Abuse, Child Development, Choice, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Drug Use, Euthanasia, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Health Care, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Parenting, Pornography, Religious Freedom, Research, Sanctity of Life, Supreme Court, The Family, Values, Violence on February 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Hot topicsby Christie Masters

Senator Bernie Sanders has undergirded his presidential campaign with the declaration that “Income inequality is the great moral issue of our time…” Other political leaders also push free health care, free education and gender equality as the utmost in moral importance. But what are the greatest moral issues of our time? What grieves you when watching the news or reading an article, or breaks your heart when thinking of the future of your children? I would venture that it is not income inequality. The differences in wealth and income are caused by a multitude of factors, and while some causes are outside of individual control, many are directly related to personal choices, desire and subsequent effort to improve one’s own circumstances.   The important moral questions that face us today are much deeper, more dangerous, and have greater consequences if left unanswered.

Immediate International Moral Crises:

  • Terrorism: a world-wide epidemic, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. Nations that reject terrorism as a method of furthering political or personal agendas are the only hope for those that face its threat every day. Terrorism threatens to re-draw the political maps of the world, not to be replaced with states and statesmen, but with murderous and ambitious groups fighting for ruthless control over people groups.
  • Sexual violence: For many, the use of rape as a weapon of war is “the greatest moral issue of our time.” According to William Hague, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, sexual violence and rape have ruined millions of lives in our lifetime. “Normalization” of such acts, acceptance and silence, have increased its use[i]. We need our political leaders to lead the counterattack and condemn these crimes.
  • Human Trafficking: World-wide, there are approximately 27 million adults and 13 million children (some as young as 4 and 6 years old) that are victims of human trafficking. Up to 80% of these cases are for sex[ii].   When we live in a time that claims more slaves than ever before in history, can we conscientiously declare that income inequality is the greatest moral issue we face?

Foundational Moral Issues that Affect the Fabric of our Nation:

  • Religious Freedom: Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, the freedom of both soul and conscience to believe and act according to personal conviction and faith. A nation that protects this right, encourages tolerance and peace among its citizens, and protects the meaning of liberty.
  • Abortion and the Right to Life: There have been over 50 million babies aborted since the fateful decision of the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade in 1978. Do unborn children have the right to live? The answer to this human rights question is crucial and fundamental to society and to our Nation. The answer determines how we perceive the value of a human life, and how we answer will affect every question concerning the sanctity of life; young or old, healthy or frail[iii]. Do we believe in the human soul? If we do not, how does this affect every other thought that we could have about the human condition? This moral issue has not lost importance by the sheer amount of discussion it has produced, but remains fundamental to our society and to humanity.
  • Sanctity of Marriage: Marriage has historically and traditionally begun the family unit. The moral and legal definition of marriage being between one man and one woman has been the building block of our homes and communities. To change this definition is to ignore a fundamental truth that gives substance to our understanding of how human beings interact, and how we teach this moral belief to our children. The family unit is crucial to a strong and healthy nation. When marriage is undermined the healthy family is as well, and thus the strength of our nation.
  • Sexual Education: The Comprehensive Sex Education being taught in many of the schools in the United States and around the world amount to one thing: the destruction of innocence and the corruption of our youth. These classes promote the sexualization of children at younger and younger ages, by teaching them harmful behaviors and exposing them to sexually perverse and explicit materials that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Please do not let the political agenda of pro-homosexual and pro-abortion groups undermine the safety of your child. Call your school, find out what your children are being taught and take a stand if it violates your moral reasoning and principles.

Often the most important issues of our time are laid aside for lesser, but still pressing, matters. Undoubtedly income affects the majority of Americans. But we must not forget that fundamental rights of liberty which give us the freedom to pursue happiness, to pursue our dreams, are intrinsically linked to moral virtue and our answers to the hardest human questions. Ask yourself the hard questions, about the soul, about the safety of our children and the importance of good character. Ask yourself about the role of nations to prevent genocides, to protect the innocent. The most important moral issues are too important to ignore.

 

[i] http://www.peacedirect.org/us/fco-sgbv-conference/

[ii] http://facts.randomhistory.com/human-trafficking-facts.html

[iii] http://www.numberofabortions.com/

When the Courts don’t Defend Churches, the Law, and Employment Rights

In Abstinence, Choice, Constitution, Courts, Diane Robertson, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Religion, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Schools, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, Values on February 3, 2016 at 8:31 am

catholic gaysby Diane Robertson

As a member of a Church that hires many people to do a multitude of things from computer programming to custodial to cook and expects everyone to adhere to the Church’s standards of conduct in public and in private, I worry when I read that a judge has decided that this is not an okay practice.

Recently a state judge in Massachusetts ruled that a Catholic school discriminated against a gay man by retracting a job offer upon learning that he was married to another man.

Girl school CatholicFontbonne Academy offered a position to Matthew Barrett as a food services director in 2013. The private school informed Barrett that all employees were assumed to exemplify Catholic teachings and values, and he agreed to those terms.

Barrett listed his husband on the employment form as his emergency contact, prompting the school to withdraw the job offer.

The Catholic Church has always defined marriage to be between one man and one woman and has always preached that sexual relationships are only to be had in a marriage between a man and a woman. It would not be unreasonable to expect that “exemplifying Catholic teachings” includes either living a celibate life or living in complete fidelity within a marriage.

There are a couple of things that make this ruling ominous and outside established laws.

First, the judge accused Fontbonne Academy of withdrawing the job offer because of Barrett’s sexual orientation and therefore breaking the law. That is simply not true. The school holds the same standards for every employee no matter their sexual orientation. Barrett did not meet these standard. Throughout the history of the United States, the law has supported private entities who had a specific set of standards for employees to meet. Roger Severino, of the Heritage Foundation said:

“Personnel is policy, and common sense tells us that an all-girls Catholic school should not be forced by the government to hire people who publicly reject central church teachings about marriage. The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the right of private organizations, especially religious ones, to choose the people who carry their messages, but this decision departs from settled law.”

Second, it is an attack on religious freedom. It is the government’s attempt to force religions to abandon their schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other programs or deny their beliefs about marriage.

Since the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, one cannot be sure that the Court would continue to uphold the right of churches to hire people who willingly uphold the standards of the church. This time, I hope the case stays in Massachusetts. Otherwise this could signal the end of churches hiring only those people who are willing to live according to the churches’ standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Most Effective Form of STD Prevention?

In Abstinence, AIDS, Birth Rate, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Education, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Health Care, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Population Control, Religion, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexually Transmitted Disease, The Family, Values on January 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

STD's 5by Erin Weist

*The opinions expressed in this article are mine alone.  Each individual reserves the right to live and choose as they best see fit.

I have seen a few articles recently touting the need for greater national exposure to the HPV vaccine, a series of shots given meant to prevent the spread of Human Papillomaviruses which cause things such as genital warts and certain types of cancers.  I firmly believe in the right of any individual to make individual choices concerning his or her own body.  That responsibility also lies with parents to make the best choices possible for their children.  In the case of this vaccine, I believe the recommendations by the CDC and other medical groups are misguided and counterintuitive.

 

First, the CDD website recommends the following: The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus.  But elsewhere on their site, under an article about risky sexual behaviors in youth, there is a score of worrisome statistics regarding unhealthy sexual behaviors and the need to curb them.  Rather than teaching kids about the theories behind sexual activity (the “why” or “when”) there is only a list of the “how,” attitudes and behaviors suggested that they adopt, such as “reducing the risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy.”

 

The reasoning is all there behind the rules and recommendations but NO ONE comes out and says it.  Abstinence works.  It prevents this stuff.  It is possible, it is healthy, it is normal.  Our society has moved away from an unhealthy shunning of those who fall into sexual snares to an equally unhealthy acceptance and LAUDING of over-active sexual discovery and behavior.  I maintain the right in my own life to practice abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage and likewise the right to teach my children this practice, in place of vaccines meant to allow the continuation of harmful behavior, only with fewer side effects.  

 

The site cancer.gov explains that “HPV vaccination before sexual activity can reduce the risk of infection.”  It also states that “people who are not sexually active almost never develop genital HPV infections” (emphasis added).  Weighing the odds, it seems even science can’t argue that abstinence is the most effective form of infection prevention.  So why doesn’t anyone teach it?

 

Suggest at a local school board meeting that you teach abstinence to kids and you are laughed out of the room.  Suggest it in ANY public forum and you are actually derided for your values.  They are out-of-touch, they are unrealistic, they are even unhealthy.  For sake of public awareness of other possibilities I submit the following:

 

My kids will learn about sex.  Not a single one of the bunch is over 10 years old and they already know quite a bit.  My kids will likewise learn about sexually transmitted diseases.  They will learn about how & why they are spread, they will learn the dangers of those diseases.  But they will also learn how God commanded us to keep ourselves morally chaste throughout our lives.  They will learn why we have the ability to sexually reproduce, what sex is for, why we have children, how they can use it to promote a healthy relationship with their spouse and why we don’t engage in sexual behaviors with anyone before we are married.

 

THIS IS POSSIBLE.  It is even reasonable and healthy!  It is how both my husband & I were raised.  Granted, our children may find spouses someday who have been sexually active previously and they will need to deal with that issue as a couple.  But it should never be about telling them that we know they’re going to be reckless so “here are the things to help you during your harmful behavior.”  A simple Google search brought up these articles and studies (here, here and here) that show how harmful early sexual behavior is for kids (and those were just on the first search page).  Why are we sending counterintuitive messages saying early sexual activity is harmful but here is something to help you engage in it?
I invite anyone who will listen to join me.  Kids should not be having sex.  It is meant to be between husband and wife.  At minimum it should be between ONLY adults.  Our legislation, our physician recommendations, our schools, our federal recommendations, our family values, EVERYTHING should be encouraging abstinence for kids.  Always, always, always.  By all means teach them about the dangers of STDs and then encourage them to stay chaste until they are adults and able to navigate the waters of sexual activity with emotional maturity.  Do it for the kids, please.

Using Title IX to Remove Choice

In Abortion, Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Constitution, Courts, Diane Robertson, Drug Use, Education, Families, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Gender, Gender Identity, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Non-Discrimination, Pornography, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Transgender, Values on December 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

college students 3by Diane Robertson

We’re at that time of year where seniors in high school are making choices about what they want to do after graduation. Many are preparing for college, the military or some sort of training beyond high school. My oldest daughter, is there now. In November she quickly filled out an application to the one college she wanted to attend. She gratefully received her acceptance letter last week.

My daughter made her choice based on a few factors. She wanted to attend a university that is affordable. She wanted a religious university where she will meet like-minded students and be taught by religious professors. She did not want to go to a liberal university with drinking parties, prevalent promiscuity, or one where the professors would focus on diversity of sexuality rather than diversity of thought.

We were happy that she had options. As parents, we are at peace to know that when she leaves home she will be going into a safe environment without the classic drinking and promiscuity. We are happy to know that her professors will have to adhere to a code of honor and will be required to be respectful of our daughter’s religious values.

Most universities today are liberal. They make sexual diversity, women’s rights, and abortions rights number one in their teachings and they are notably intolerant to religious ideology. They have problems with drinking, drugs, and rape. If that is the environment a student wants to move to, they probably do not have to look much farther than their nearby state and community colleges.

Few universities seek for religious protections with how they run their schools. Few universities expect their students and staff to sign and live by an honor code. In fact, the number seeking government exemptions to Title IX are 34. That is 34 colleges and universities out of an estimated total of 17,487,475.

What is Title IX and why would some schools seek exemptions? Title IX is the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination in education based on sex (gender). The idea behind the law was that any educational program receiving federal funding had to apply the programs to both boys and girls. In April 2014, the Obama administration decided that Title IX applies to transgender people. With the new application of the law to transgender, this not only extends the law to educational grants and funding, but to elementary schools through university bathroom facilities, locker rooms, and gender specific dorm rooms.

Recently, the largest LGBT activist group in the country, the Human Rights Campaign, is disturbed by the fact that 34 universities and colleges, or .00019% of the total universities and colleges in the United States would be so bold as to ask for religious exemptions to Title IX. They are calling on the Department of Education to address this “disturbing trend”.

The Human Rights Counsel does not want to give religious students a place to learn and get degrees where religious students feel safe. They want every college and university to be the same. They want to completely do away with choice in education and choice in educational environment. They want all colleges and universities to adhere to their view of sexuality, abortion, and diversity. Hopefully, the Department of Education will not comply and the 34 private colleges and universities that adhere to religious beliefs in sexuality will be allowed to continue to offer a choice to students.

What the CDC Says About the Next Generation

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Drug Use, Education, Families, Health Care, Media, Research, Schools, Values on December 14, 2015 at 7:35 am

teens are happyby Erin Weist

I ran across some interesting statistics on the Centers for Disease Control website about teens and it seemed like important information to share.  These statistics come from studies done from 1991-2013 as part of a Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance and cover both high school (9th-12th grade) and middles school age kids.  The results I’m addressing here are for high school age kids.  High school is generally a time of great peer pressure for kids to fit in, to find a niche or somewhere to belong, often resulting in poor behavioral choices– either from poor group decisions or from perceived lifestyle choices of others.  I would propose that our unhealthy media culture in America has inflated that perception beyond reality and the statistics seem to show our youth making better choices overall than is commonly believed.

Almost without fail the results showed over & over again that kids are doing better than they were 20 years ago.  In alcohol use the number of high schoolers who had ever taken a drink dropped by 20%.  That means, if you’re a teen and think ALL the other kids are partying and drinking, you’re wrong.  If you are in a group of 10 kids there are 4 who have never had a single drink, but that stat used to be eight.  Teen drinking has been linked to nerve tissue damage in the brains of teenagers so let’s keep that trend dropping.

Illegal drugs have likewise seen dropping trends.  The rates are actually higher than they were in 1991 but there was a drastic spike in the late-90s and the percentage of drug use has been steadily dropping since then.  The science behind dangers of narcotics has been repeated for decades and hopefully our kids are taking note.  In the 90s there were a reported ⅕ of high school kids sniffing inhalants (and dying from it as well) but that rate dropped below 10% in 2013.  In a room of 10 kids only 1 kid will be using inhalants.  You teen are not alone in your good choices– in fact you may be in place to help those few who are making dangerously destructive choices.

This one interested me the most since our sexual behaviors seem so greatly highlighted, in magazines, television and the big screen.  Ready forthis?  In a group of random kids, less than half of those kids will have had sex.  Ever.  That means OVER HALF of our high school kids are virgins.  I’m hoping most of that half are the younger kids but still that is a hopeful statistic.  The means of creating human life is a beautiful gift but also a grave responsibility, even for those prepared for parenthood.  If more people are waiting to have sex with a devoted partner with the intent to raise kids in a family then all nations will be stronger.  

And a quick shout-out to our smart kids, whose tobacco use has plummeted, dropping in most cases by at least half.  If we could get as much good PR against these other dangerous habits as we’ve had against the tobacco industry we’d be sitting pretty.  I am hopeful and proud of our kids, who are looking to the future and making better choices.  If you keep this up the world will be in good hands.  Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.

 

Surprise, Surprise, STDs on the Rise

In Abstinence, Choice, Diane Robertson, Education, Families, Freedom, Government, Health Care, Homosexuality, Population Control, Pornography, Prostitution, Religion, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Values on December 9, 2015 at 10:07 am

STD's 5by Diane Robertson

Promiscuity has consequences. Since the 1960’s people have been trying to avoid the consequences by destigmatizing sexual choice. Social and school programs have been set up to support children born without a married mother and father. Free medical care is available to the poor.

Comprehensive sex education that teaches children promiscuity has successfully made its way into many schools. Daily, popular movies, cartoons, books, and music glorify promiscuity. Pornography is generally considered acceptable. Marriage has been redefined, and those who have complained about the effects promiscuity has on children and society have been labelled bigots and haters. Yet, no matter how destigmatized promiscuity has become, serious consequences literally continue to plague society. `

The Centers for Disease Control recently came out with their yearly report on STDs. Not surprisingly, the rates are on the rise, particularly for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Chlamydia increased by 2.8%, with over 1.4 million cases reported in 2014 alone. Gonorrhea increased just over 5%, and the syphilis rate went up the most with a 14.4% increase in men and 22.7% in women.

More alarmingly still, the rate of babies born with syphilis has jumped 38%. Babies born with syphilis experience anything from severe rash that causes scarring to swollen joints and bone pain to blindness or even death. According to USA Today:

“Syphilis is almost entirely preventable, both in adults and babies. Adults and teens can avoid infection either by using condoms during sex, abstaining from sex or being with a monogamous partner. Giving penicillin to pregnant women prevents infection in 98% of newborns, according to the CDC.

In the (CDC) study, nearly 22% of mothers got no prenatal care, and nearly 10% had no record of pregnancy care. More than 40% of women were not treated for syphilis, while 30% received inadequate care, the report said.”

Oregon’s Public Health Division encourages health professionals who diagnose STDs to additionally write prescriptions for their patient’s sexual partners. They call this Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT). Yet some are questioning whether or not EPT works given the rise in STD rates. Still 38 states and Washington DC recommend EPT, while only 4 states have made it illegal.

The real issue of course is promiscuity and infidelity. STDs are a natural consequence of that behavior. All of the social programs, free STD testing, free medical care, free prescriptions, and EPT programs are obviously not helping. The only thing that will change this rise is if people quit listening to the media that glorifies promiscuity, or the sex education that teaches it and instead heed the religious advice of old to reserve sexual activity for marriage and live in complete fidelity after marriage. STDs are preventable. They are the only diseases spread solely through behavior.

 

Debunking the Dangerous Myths of Sexual Education.

In Abstinence, AIDS, Child Development, Choice, Education, Families, Free Speech, Gender, Health Care, Homosexuality, Parenting, Pornography, Research, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Values on December 8, 2015 at 7:56 am

sex ed 4
by Jessica Westfall

It’s not new news that there are explicit sexual education programs being implemented throughout the western world. It’s hard as a parent to know what to do. In May, Toronto held a boycott against the curriculum, almost 35,000 students didn’t go to school in protest. While parents know the information is too soon for their children, there is a big group of doctors, educators, and mental health experts that say the new curriculum is long overdue. Some parents like parts of the education, like issues about pornography and sexting, but don’t agree with every aspect, like “gender fluidity”. Now, the curriculum is being pushed again, and parents are protesting again.

Parents need information based on science about the good or ill of these programs, but it’s hard to find. Dr. Miriam Grossman is an American expert on the harm of sex education programs. Jack Fonseca is part of the Campaign Life Coalition. Both have information on the sex-education programs, and information on the true discoveries that science has made.

This article outlines the current struggle going on. There are videos from both Dr. Grossman and Fonseca. All four videos are informative and necessary. Dr. Grossman’s video is perhaps the most informative on what current science knows, and what should be taught if there is going to be an option for school curriculum. Her video is about one hour long and covers topics like:

  • Developmentally appropriate information

  • Teenage brains are not developed in the areas of risk evaluation and logic, and they won’t be until the early 20s. If teens get into tempting situations, they are more likely to act on it (no matter how much education they’ve gotten about being “safe”) and make choices they will later regret. It’s important, and more effective and safe, to warn and teach teens to stay out of potentially harmful and tempting situations.

  • In the United States, young adults between the ages of 15-24 contract a sexually transmitted infection every 3.5 seconds, in part because of ignorance.

  • A young girl’s cervix is immature, it’s essentially a bullseye target for infection from viruses and bacteria (a condom isn’t sufficient protection). A young girl is more prone to sexually transmitted infections. As a girl becomes an adult that area is replaced with a tougher lining that is more infection resistant.

  • Physiologically, vaginal intercourse has natural protections against HIV infection while anal intercourse actually promotes HIV infection (anal intercourse is 31 times more dangerous than vaginal intercourse, and that’s a low estimate). Dr. Grossman says that every practicing gay man she has told that to has thanked her.

  • And many more facts that gives parents a better idea of how to defend and protect their children.

Her information is informative and important to battle for proper sex-education in the proper settings at the proper development age. Sex-education should be focused on health, not an ideology where all types of sexual behaviors and lifestyles have the same, fair, outcomes (as in the same ratios risk of negative outcomes like HIV). Reality and science just don’t support that.

Why Abstinence Works and How to Make It Work for You

In Abstinence, Choice, Families, Marriage, Media, Pornography, Sexual Freedom, Values on November 30, 2015 at 9:16 am

couple in love 3

by Elise Ellsworth

Would you want to participate in an activity which made it more likely you would be depressed? Commit suicide? Live in poverty? Fail in school? Have an unhappy marriage? Contract uncomfortable diseases? These are some of the outcomes that have been linked to having sex before marriage. Yet, each year millions of teens and young adults choose to engage in sexual relations before marriage, often without forethought as to the effects this could have on their futures. Whatever your past, decide now to steer clear of sex until marriage – you will be happier in the long run.

There are currently 10,000,000 married adults in the United States who waited until marriage for sexual relations. And these married adults had some secrets I would like to share. Secrets to remaining sexually pure. In order for water to be purified it must pass through a number of different stages to remove varying levels of impurities.  But the feeling of drinking a glass of clean, clear water is incredibly refreshing. You would not want it any other way. Keeping a relationship pure will also require multiple layers of diligence but it’s worth the work. Here are some steps for keeping your relationships clean until marriage.

BE MODEST Modesty in thought, behavior and dress is the first step towards abstinence. It screens out partners who could be a potential problem, and who are most interested in immediate physical gratification. I once read that a woman who dresses provocatively is figuratively throwing raw meat in front of a lion. She is advertising her willingness to be promiscuous. You can make yourself attractive and beautiful in a modest and dignified way.

Thought leads to behavior. Be modest in thought. Don’t fill your mind with pornographic images from the screen or from trashy romance novels. If you haven’t made a choice to avoid these things, do so now. Set standards of what you will read in books and watch in movies. These images can decrease your ability to have a normal marital relationship.

MAKE YOUR INTENTIONS CLEAR Of course you must commit to yourself that you plan to not have sexual relations until marriage. But to avoid frustration, make your intentions of waiting until marriage clear to the person you date early on. If they really like you, they will probably see this as challenging and attractive.

DRAW BOUNDARIES IN ADVANCE Any good game needs rules and boundary lines. Successful couples set boundaries in their physical relationship. No french kissing. No touching sensitive body parts. I had a roommate who would not kiss at all. I thought she was extreme, but she is now happily married with a lovely family. Set a high line. When we were first dating my husband took the initiative in making these guidelines. This fortified my trust in him and has thus made him immensely more attractive to me. Setting boundaries simply makes the game more fun.

BE ACCOUNTABLE Games are also more fun if you have a rule keeper or referee. It is important to get someone else on board in your mission. We met with a bishop from our faith as needed during our engagement. These meetings were a good chance for us to check in with someone who was totally on board with our goals. Find a trusted older adult who is interested in the success of your relationship. Report regularly on your progress in remaining sexually pure.

AVOID COMPROMISING SITUATIONS Steer clear of situations where you will be alone, especially at night. Empty apartments, bedrooms, dark cars, late nights, basements – try to avoid these. Instead, double date, triple date or stay places with lots of people – restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, jogging, golfing, dancing, skating rinks, ski slopes. Plan fun dates where you won’t be alone and you will avoid the temptations that accompany deserted territory.

Once you get married you are home free! You now have a relationship based on mutual trust and commitment. A relationship where you have proven your ability to do hard things. Now you can enjoy sex and marriage more than anyone else. So enjoy dating, but set high standards. It’s worth the wait.

 

Bungling or Brilliant? How to talk with your kids about sex

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Education, Families, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on October 19, 2015 at 8:55 am

mother talking to teenby Christie Masters

When my children were very young, I answered questions like “Mommy, where do babies come from?” with a comfortably undetailed, “They are a gift from God”. This worked until one of my young daughters wanted to know if she would be given a baby even if she didn’t want one. It became clear, that for her, a little information could be added. “Babies are the wonderful expression of mommy and daddy’s love for one another” tells part of the story, until later when they ask about the young neighbor who has a baby and isn’t married yet. Though parenting through these questions can be a series of well-meaning bungled explanations or successes, the opportunity for dialogue with our children is of crucial importance. It is a precious and humbling experience to teach our children the truth about life, love, sex and marriage, and it is through on-going conversations with parents, though some may be humorous and some awkward, that our children get the most life-changing information and advice.

Researchers have shown that parents are the most effective influence on their children’s decision to delay sexual encounters. Studies have also shown that teens express a desire to talk with and learn from their parents, indicating that it would be easier to “say no” if they had more open conversations with their parents about sexuality. [1]  The importance of parental involvement in the sexual education of their children is all too clear, we must get involved. Our family has embraced some basic premises that help guide our conversations about this important topic:

  1. We treat waiting until marriage to have sex as an achievable. We teach our children that self-control and restraint are important in all areas of life, and sexual intimacy is no exception. We teach them that sex within a marriage where the husband and wife mutually love and respect one another is one of the most gratifying and precious gifts two people can share. This belief seasons every conversation we have about sexuality.
  2. We decided early on to be open about the choices we made when we were young, both good and bad. My husband and I view our past as a testimony, a story that includes both heartache and redeeming love. This is a very personal decision for parents, and there is understandably discretion to be used. Our children have often thanked us for being candid with them.
  1. No question is off limits. We encourage our children to talk with us if they see something disturbing or inappropriate, and we encourage them to ask us questions if they are curious about something. We try to make sure our answers are tempered by our children’s age and understanding.
  2. We prayerfully consider each child’s needs. If your family is like ours, there are children who seek you out and talk about anything and everything that is on their heart, while others are more quiet and contemplative. Often these are the kids that we need to purposefully engage in discussing important topics.
  3. We avoid “freaking out”, as my children would say, even when we feel sidelined by an unexpected question or one of our children shares an opinion that may not reflect what we believe or have taught them. We would rather know what they really think, rather than simply hearing them parrot back to us what we want to hear- this opens the door for wise counsel and searching for the truth together.
  4. We include the moral reason behind principles we teach our children, instead of just saying “No.” Talking about the “why” behind the rules, such as dating, internet usage, and clothing choices, makes them more reasonable and practicable.

Regardless of your political affiliations or religious beliefs, your children’s understanding of sexuality and relationships should never be sacrificed on the altar of society’s new “norms” or trends, but should reflect the principles and beliefs that are foundational to you as a parent, and to your family. Parents are, regardless of feelings of inadequacy, the best choice to teach these important principles and their children think so as well.

mother talking to teenWhat do you want your children to learn about sex and when? Develop a plan on how you would like to approach the subject and remember that you are your child’s greatest influence for good, as well as their greatest advocate- a fact that will impact their future relationships, happiness and health.

[1] Moynihan, C. (2011, October 3). Kids want to hear about life and love from parents. Retrieved October 18, 2015.

Relationship Misconceptions

In Abstinence, Child Abuse, Child Development, Choice, Domestic Violence, Education, Families, Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Values on September 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm
Dr. John Van EppBy Jessica Westfall

Dr. John Van Epp puts an interesting twist on a well beloved and known fairy tale. Ellie was an orphan who was ignored and unloved by her step mother and sisters. She meets and marries a man in a very short time. This man had heaped praise and attention, something she has craved, on her. It is no wonder that Ellie, or Cinder-Ellie as her friends knew her, fell for this man. The prince, probably accustomed to pampering and somewhat spoiled, was looking for the perfect woman. In real life, men like that are usually self-centered, controlling, and verbally abusive, at the very least. Poor Cinderella was determined to find her perfect life but her ideals were so far out of reality (she sang to mice and unfairly worked all day, and sometimes night, without rebelling) that she probably looked over certain warning signals that Prince Charming was only charming when he got his way.

CinderellaI like the story of Cinderella, I do believe that good things will happen to good people, and meanness doesn’t pay well. However, Dr. Epp’s interpretation of this story does bring some interesting questions to light. Why did Cinderella believe happily ever after could happen with a stranger? Why did she think she could trust this man with a commitment of marriage after one date? Why was Prince Charming looking for that one perfect woman? I think it brings to light the most important question of all, why are there so many good people who are duped by jerks?

One easy answer is that good people see and expect good from others. They give the benefit of the doubt and forgive easily. Those are all great qualities for dating relationships and marriages, but only if what is given is reciprocated in kind. Dr. Epp has created a model that demonstrates the need for certain steps in getting to know a person and being smart about who to love, so that these wonderful traits won’t be wasted on less than wonderful partners.

Dr. Epp calls his model the RAM (Relationship Attachment Model). It’s important to note that this model is useful for marriages, but it works best for creating a relationship. In marriage, after the choice and commitment have been made, there is room for some fluctuation, but while getting to know someone it is important to follow this model precisely.

Imagine a light switch pad with dimmer switches, 5 of them in a row. Each of these switches can be raised and lowered independently of the others.  In a safe relationship building practice, each consecutive switch doesn’t move higher than the preceding one.RAM

 

From: http://byuiscroll.org/2015/06/26/author-advises-how-to-avoid-falling-in-love-with-a-jerk/

Starting with the far left dimmer switch we have the “know” spectrum. When two people first meet this switch is very low, but as time, disclosure (talking), and different situations are experienced together this switch rises. The next switch, the “trust” spectrum, should never rise higher than the “know”. Make sure the trust given to a potential dating partner (or any person for that matter) does not exceed how much is known about them (this “knowing” takes talking, experiences, and time). If “trust” is more than “know” the trust is not grounded in reality, it’s instead based on assumptions. The “rely” switch comes next. Why should a dating partner be relied on more than they are trusted? That leaves a lot of opportunity to be let down. The next switch covers “commitment”. Be careful to commit only after the person is well known, proven to be trustworthy, and has been reliable (again, the amount of time is crucial, Dr. Epp says it takes three months to start noticing bad behaviors). Commitment – like exclusive dating or marriage – is very important, but only after someone has proven themselves.

The last switch is touch, it is not safe to include the strong emotions and connections touch invokes without first knowing, trusting, relying, and committing to that special person. It’s impossible to be sure if a partner is really special, or just perceived as special without this process.  If each switch rises in order and stays balanced correctly, heartache is held at bay. This may seem a little intimidating, who wants to think about all this when falling in love? With this model and a little self control, falling in love with the right person is attainable, forgoing a lot of the heartache. This doesn’t mean dating won’t be fun. It’ll be like going on a road trip to visit the Grand Canyon, who has more fun? The person who has a detailed map of where to go, or the person who is just winging it (and probably lost)?

Hopefully Prince Charming was raised by parents that helped him understand his position afforded him pleasures few others had. Perhaps they taught him that his special position came with responsibilities, namely being a just and kind ruler. Hopefully that bled into his personal life. While we’re at it, hopefully Cinderella was able to magically, instantly get over years of abuse, heartache, and neglect with no lingering symptoms. It is important to remember that this miraculous ending would have been the exception, most fairy tales are, it is not the rule of most real relationship experiences. Thankfully, Dr. Epp has created this easy to understand model to help those looking for love make wise choices while dating so that they can find their happily ever after (disclaimer: there will be a lot of work, self-growth, effort, and forgiveness involved, but it’s worth it!).

From the book by John Van Epp, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind

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